Across Greater Manchester (GM) there is a network of people, places and organisations enabling people to live active lives; from sport clubs and community organisations to informal social groups. They’re the ones on the ground who provide opportunities to participate in competitive or social sport and physical activity. They’re places where many people have taken their formative steps into a lifetime habit of being active. These places are both sporting and community hubs; the meet-up points for a walk and the brews and loos - the places where friendships are formed.
There are also the organisations on the edge of our communities who support them to thrive; the Community Voluntary Support Organisations, Local Authorities, National Governing Bodies and Charities with capacity and appetite who support our grassroots communities to keep people connected. They are ready to step in and support the pressing needs of health inequality, funding, facility development, recruitment and development of current and future leaders, whilst also providing advice and guidance on how to create inviting and welcoming places for a wider audience of people to enjoy.
In GM there are 17,494 voluntary organisations, community groups and social enterprises making a difference in Greater Manchester, 39% of which enable physical activity, sport and leisure in communities (State of the sector, p.27). We know that no two places are the same, but they have all faced challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, which is why it’s more important than ever to maintain connectivity across the system to help people participate in active lives.
Connectivity is key, as is ensuring that the organisations on the edge of our communities are collaborating and targeting where the need is greatest. This starts with engaging with those communities and community gatekeepers to find out what support is needed to get people active in their communities.
This could look like community wide engagement over a series of issues in a place, or it could look like neighbourhood teams working closely with local people. It could look like people from the health and social care network engaging with sports clubs to tackle gambling harm. Participation looks like many things and the goal is to ensure that the work of our clubs and organisations reaches the communities that need it most.
For clubs, groups and organisations seeking support to engage and connect with their community:
Local councils and leisure trusts will have different support offers for sport and activity:
There are many organisations, both locally and nationally that can support with volunteering. The voluntary support organisations listed above can support your local needs but for other resources, try Visiting NCVO’s Website. NCVO champion the voluntary sector by connecting, representing and supporting voluntary organisations like clubs, community groups and charities.
The local organisations listed above can support your safeguarding needs, but for further support and resources, try visiting: